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Mamores Challenge

Mamores Challenge

Postby m16kra » Wed Aug 18, 2010 12:15 am

Munros included on this walk: Am Bodach, An Gearanach, Binnein Beag, Binnein Mòr, Mullach nan Coirean, Na Gruagaichean, Sgùrr a' Mhàim, Sgùrr Èilde Mòr, Stob Bàn (Mamores), Stob Coire a' Chàirn

Date walked: 16/08/2010

Time taken: 14 hours

Distance: 41 km

Ascent: 3750m

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Since completing the West Highland Way in April I’d had my eye on the Mamores, and recently plotted a route to clamber up all 10 in a day. Not overly sure it was feasible (or wise! :? ) at first until I found a similar route on another hill walking website (which I shall not name!) approaching them from Glen Nevis, and estimated to complete walking in 14:10hrs and 34km. I however planned the attack on the Mamores from Kinlochleven, simply because I wanted the comfort factor of dropping back down onto the known entity of the military road back to Kinlochleven.

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After completing a two day, 64km, trek in the Cairngorms with a few guys in the Aberdeen Mountain Rescue Team, taking in 6 out of the 7 highest tops the previous weekend, I knew I’d the feet to cope with a 40km day, but not so sure about the vast ascents and descents I’d be facing. Given the forecast for Monday in the West Coast was 90% cloud free Munros, this was my opportunity to attempt the Mamore Challenge! On Sunday I warmed up with an easy 26km hike in the Cairngorms taking in Sgor Gaoith and Mullach Clach a’Bhlair in absolutely glorious sunshine!
Sgor Gaoith

I then drove across to Kinlochleven in a fantastic evening, with even Ben Nevis making an appearance out of the clouds! Arriving at 9:30, I parked up, got myself ready for the next day then attempted to get a good sleep in the back seat of the truck, which was not easy given the amount of midges I’d managed to let in, and the heat!

5:50am alarm, and started walking from Mamore Lodge at 6:15am, after dropping a map of my route, with estimated time back and contact details….I was on my own after all, in unfamiliar hills!
The walk in wasn’t too strenuous, with lovely views down into Kinlochleven over my right shoulder.

Back to Kinlochleven

As I approached Coire An Lochain the ascent up Sgurr Eilde Mor looked steep and bouldery, but not too high. Up I went on the south shoulder, only to find the summit in the clouds unfortunately, surely the 10% of the day?! 2hrs complete, bang on plan! I descended on the North face down a very gravely scree slope, which was good fun, but not a good idea on my own! :)

Sgurr Eilde Mor

No 1 - Sgurr Eilde Mor

At the base I could see Binnein Beag in the distance and the path down into the glen then all the way back up! A straight forward walk however on good paths for the most part with a wee water stop given I’d identified that there would not be many streams along the way. I ascended Binnein Beag up the well trod in path up quite a steep gradient, quick photo stop in the clouds, and descended down the scree, good fun until I realised I was moving half the mountain, see the light/yellow scree on photo. 3hrs to the summit!
No 2 - Binnein Beag
Binnein Beag
Scree path!

No path identified on the map, and no path visible on approach to Binnein Mor, so decided against a scramble up the North East side in favour of a steep glass slope ascent up to the North West shoulder. Very tough going, but once I reached the shoulder the ascent to the summit was straight forward 4hrs on the clock.
No 3 - Binnein Mor

The 30 minute traverse to Na Gruagaichean was very easy, so easy I didn’t think I was on the correct summit until I checked the GPS! :D Another picture in the clouds!
No 4 - Na Gruagaichean

A big steep decent and re-ascend to Stob Choire a’Choire, not my intended 5th Munro of the day, but the path to traverse to An Gearanach was not very obvious, and found myself so close to the summit that I just carried on. Again no view…..spot the theme!
No 5 - Stob Choire a’Choire

Quite a descent down and before I clambered up to An Gearanach had a quick 5 minute break and bite to eat. A nice ridge climb, with minor scrambling, and a stop for a chat with the first fellow hikers of the day got me to the summit in 6 hours.
No 6 - An Gearanach

View north to Glen Nevis

Back along the ridge and down to where I’d had a bite to eat, I decided to traverse across instead of re-ascending Stob Choire a’Choire. This proved very tricky, and in hindsight I may have been easier actually re-ascending! Anyway, back on track and onwards and upwards to Am Bodach. 7 munros in 7 hours, so knew I was making good time, and should make it back to watch the Man U game!
No 7 - Am Bodach

This is where I made the mistake of the day! At the summit I looked at the map, looked around (for as much as I could see) and headed down the shoulder. Remembering however I need to cancel a doctors appointment I stopped to make a call, and whilst I was stopped checked my co-ordinates. To my disgust I’d come off the wrong shoulder, and ended up having a horrid 45min transverse to get back onto the track. :( Note to self….always check with the compass before glorying on! A quick up and over former Munro Sgor an Lubhair (which may I say is far more a Munro than a couple I could mention in the Cairngorms!), and decent down to the Devils Ridge. Now I’d noted on the map that there was a low road and a high road. Given the visibility, I decided to take the low road out to Sgurr a’Mhaim, losing far too much altitude!! A very steep 250m ascent up a grassy slope up to Sgurr a’Mhaim was not what the docter ordered after 10hrs of already strenuous walking! Devils Ridge therefore was calling me to get back onto the main ridge, a far more enjoyable and interesting route. Note to self……must re-visit in good visibility!!! :D
No 8 - Sgurr a’Mhaim
Devils Ridge

For some bizarre reason I re-ascended Sgor an Lubhair where I met a gent who said I’d only about two hours to go to Mullach nan Coirean, with quite a steep ascent of Stob Ban on the way! Only 2 hours I exclaimed!! Off I went ascended Stob Ban……steep…..felt like Everest I was climbing! A couple of minor scrambles were required also. 9 Munros and 11 hrs…getting back for the Man U game was now not looking good, and nor was my estimated time I’d left with Mamore Lodge, so gave them a call to let them know I’d be a couple hours more than I’d estimated.
No 9 - Stob Ban

Thankfully the hike to Mullach nan Coirean was very straight forwards, not losing too much elevation and a nice gentle rise up to the final summit. 12hrs.
No 10 - Mullach nan Coirean

Now to get home! With no paths on the map, and already soaking gear, I decided to just drop directly south off the summit into the Glen, so off I clambered picking up speed and scaring the sheep! A stream appeared however and thought than isn’t right! Bearing check…..yet another traverse….another ascent, and off running down the slopes on the correct bearing, and low and behold the Military road appeared out of the mist!! 40mins from the summit to the road, 750m, was good going and confirmed I was soaked to the skin!
Military Road!!

1 hour 20 mins back along the West Highland Way trail back to the Mamore Lodge, took me back full circle in 14hr dead…..and I was dead!! :D
14hrs and the truck still in the car park!!

The GPS stats were as follows:
Distance: 41.4km (Although route I plotted was 37.4km so don’t know where else I was!)
Time: 14:00hrs
Average Speed: 2.9km/hr
Average Moving Speed: 4.2km/hr
Time Moving: 9:44
Time Stopped:4:22 (can’t recall being stationary for more than 5 minutes!!) :?
Estimated Accent 3750m

The plan for the following day was to visit Glencoe, but phoned walking partner and said all my gear was soaked, and had decided to get back to Aberdeen. After a shower and a meal at MacDonald Hotel, getting in 20mins of the Man U game, I drove back to Aberdeen to arrive home at 1am…..shattered as you’d expect after a long and tiring day!

This, ladies and gentleman, proves it can be done, and with a little more care with navigation can be done in less than 14hrs.
Last edited by m16kra on Thu Aug 19, 2010 12:41 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Mamores Challenge

Postby skuk007 » Wed Aug 18, 2010 5:58 am

Great report, enjoyed that one. True epic. Don't think I'm quite ready for walks yhat long though! :)
You were so unlucky with that low cloud, thought you'd get a break on at least one of the summits. You'll just have to do it all again. :)
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Re: Mamores Challenge

Postby m16kra » Wed Aug 18, 2010 7:09 am

Indeed! Just goes to prove you can't rely on the weather forecast!! :( In hindsight the weather probably aided the adventure. 1) seeing what was ahead may have stopped me carrying on :? 2) it was a really comfortable temperature to walk in :) 3) had the sun been beating down like the previous day my water consumption would have been at least double and that wasn't an option!! :?

I will return but perhaps to do just the Ring of Steall!! :D
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Re: Mamores Challenge

Postby gaffr » Wed Aug 18, 2010 7:40 am

You have obviously reached a rich vein of fitness in your recent travels.....the advantages of this level will be best appreciated during the short winter days when timing can be so important in days out on the hill. Never been on the trail on the South side of these tops but this gave you a 'bale out' factor with a quick way back to 'base' if that were required, which to me looks like good planning, especially so on an indifferent looking day! Three thousand metres plus of ascent is a very fine uphill level!....I would have to go back several decades to be at that level! Probably the 'Cuillin days' might just approach that kind of level? I can remember a few folks back in the sixties/seventies, using the much longer days of June, and good clear weather, who added several other tops out towards Loch Treig and came back along the Grey corries and onto Ben Nevis as a finishing point....don't know how many more 'upwards metres' that this would add but, to me, the undertakings seemed a remakable level of fitness. Thanks for the images of your journey.
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Re: Mamores Challenge

Postby HighlandSC » Wed Aug 18, 2010 7:46 am

Fantastic report of super-epic! Shame about the cloud but no matter. Good stuff.
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Re: Mamores Challenge

Postby monty » Wed Aug 18, 2010 8:37 am

Excellent stuff m16kra,
Made all the more incredible with your 26km walk the day before. :shock: Shame about the weather because these hills look fantastic in the sunshine. Good effort. Wish i could walk day after day like you :D

Re: Mamores Challenge

Postby Stretch » Wed Aug 18, 2010 8:55 am

Congrats on not passing out, that's some journey! Shame about the low cloud, I was up that way Saturday with a similar forecast that proved false. Well done on bagging all 10 Mamores!
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Re: Mamores Challenge

Postby magicdin » Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:13 am

Great effort that - and no doubt you could have gone quicker in good weather
Good report
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Re: Mamores Challenge

Postby munrowalker » Wed Aug 18, 2010 7:55 pm

W O W!

I've read that its possible to do the Mamores in one go, but 3750m of ascent just seemed too mental to me for anyone other than the steven fallons of the world to do! Well done!
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Re: Mamores Challenge

Postby Barnety2000 » Wed Aug 18, 2010 8:46 pm

Wow a monumental effort to do all the Mamores in a single day. Just doing Stob Ban and Mullach nan Coirean from Glen Nevis took me the best part of a day! Awesome report... :D

Shame about the cloud though :(
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Re: Mamores Challenge

Postby blueyed » Thu Aug 19, 2010 10:37 am

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Re: Mamores Challenge

Postby old danensian » Thu Aug 19, 2010 9:01 pm

Well done - great effort - just logged on to post my own report so was glad to read you'd made it.
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